Baby Monitors Buying Guide

Published April 28, 2010 | Updated August 14, 2015

As a new parent, you may worry about your sleeping infant, but the best baby monitor will help to ease your mind and lessen your worries. Baby monitors allow you to get your rest, do housework, and spend time with your other children, and most important, they give you another set of eyes and ears to watch over your little one. This buying guide will help you learn how to buy a baby monitor with the features that will give you the peace of mind you need.

Types of Baby Monitors:

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  • Audio Baby Monitors

    An audio baby monitor will transmit the sound of your baby's cries. These are the most common forms of baby monitors because they offer parents a way to listen for their baby without the constant distraction of having to check on the baby.

  • Video Baby Monitors

    Monitors with both audio and video transmit both the sound and a video of your sleeping baby. For some parents, a video baby monitor will provide the most peace of mind, as you can both see and hear your child and anything else that may happen in your child's room. Some video monitors have color screens while others have simple black-and-white screens; the picture quality and the screen size will affect the price.

  • Movement Monitors

    If you're concerned that your baby isn't moving enough while sleeping, you may want to use a movement monitor. These usually have a thin pad that goes under the fitted sheet to sense whether or not your baby has moved recently. If your baby isn't moving enough in her sleep, an alarm will sound on the unit for you to hear.

  • Baby Monitor Features to Consider:

  • Analog Frequency

    Analog monitors are designed like a radio and generally use the 49 MHz or 900 MHz frequency. Analog monitors are popular because they are typically the least expensive and most widely available models. These often have a limited range, so make sure to note the radio range of the monitor you're considering, especially if you have a larger home or if you want to be able to go into your backyard during your baby's nap time.

  • Digital Frequency

    A digital baby monitor will give you less interference from other similar frequencies in the area. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of children and babies, chances are several nearby homes will have a baby monitor in use. A digital baby monitor will help you avoid picking up their signals.

  • Web Cam

    Some video monitors come with a web cam, so friends and relatives out of town can enjoy watching your baby sleep as much as you do. This is also beneficial for parents who work from home because they can watch the baby from their computer in another room.

  • Multiple Receivers

    If your home is large, you may want to consider choosing an infant monitor with two or more receivers. This will help you hear your baby no matter where you are in your home.

  • Indicator Lights or Vibrations

    Indicator lights and vibrations alert you to your baby's sounds, a low-battery in the unit, or if you are too far out of range to pick up the signal. Lights are more common, but you can shop for monitors with vibrations if you prefer to feel the alerts. Both these features can also be very useful in noisy rooms where you can't hear the monitor.

  • Two-Way Intercom

    Sometimes a baby who awakens just needs a little bit of soothing to fall back asleep. This feature lets you give your baby a gently "shhhh" without even opening the door to the nursery.

  • Belt Clips

    A baby monitor with a belt clip lets you clip the baby monitor's receiver to your belt, so you can carry it with you while you do your household chores.

  • Sound Machines

    Many babies sleep better with ambient noise or fall asleep better with a lullaby or two. Some monitors have this feature built in, so you won't have to use a separate unit for comforting music or sounds.